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Why is water getting scarce
Is the supply of water getting less?
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FROM a distance a band of human figures could be seen slowly climbing down a hill. They were in pairs and each pair was carrying a canful of water. The cans hung suspended from mature bamboo poles carried on shoulders in between the pairs. Reaching the foot of the hill, they came to a halt and shove off the cargo from their shoulders to rest. They came from a mountain spring very, very far from home just to fetch water.
The boys were perspiring
Among the pairs was Reb and his cousin. Rocky Boy. Just like the rest of their companions, Reb and Rocky Boy were panting hard- their faces red-hot and clothes wet all over their bodies with perspiration. They kept fanning themselves with hats but the midday heat was too much for them to bear.
The fairy transported the Reb up
Finding himself a cozy place under a tree, Reb yawned and without his knowing soon went into deep slumber.
Fairy Carolina in all her splendor, riding her Flying Nigo*, appeared from nowhere and tranported Reb far, far among the clouds and down, down into a place somewhat like paradise yet a bit familiar to the boy. "Tell me. What things can you see?", the good fairy asked Reb who readily replied: "I see rows of houses, a schoolhouse and a chapel. I see streets."
The Flying Nigo with riders
The Flying Nigo hovered quite nearer the earth surface for a clearer view. "Now tell me what things can you recognize?," the fairy asked Reb anew. Beaming with joy, Reb shouted, "I recognize our house!". He repeated what he had said. "It's the sixth house in the left row on our right. I can even see Mama clearly. She's there hunging clothes on the line. I can see also Mana Clarisse playing with Goldie's pups."
Flashes of days gone by
And down the magic Nigo with its riders flew close to earth. Indeed most of the scenery appeared strange to Reb. He asked, "My good fairy, why are there tall trees and forests very near our homes? Who put the birds and the animals there? Can we have back those rivers and lakes and springs as sources of fresh water?"
Lands, creeks and spring bereft of trees dry up
The kind fairy intoned with a sad note. "What you're seeing now is a flashback of days gone by. The forests, trees, wildlife, springs, rivers and lakes were all there before man settled your area. Now they are all gone except for a few shrubs, weeds and grasses. Man is the culprit. Man is the criminal. Man is at fault. Man is to blame. It's all because of his greed and selfishness. Farmers cut and burn trees down to clear spots for rice and corn. Where will you get water for home use with dry-up springs?". Loggers sew them down fast with machines for profit. As a result, flash floods occur during heavy downpour. And rivers, lakes and springs easily dry up during drought. Where will the birds and animals go without trees and forest?
Reb has been dreaming
Rocky Boy shook his cousin by the shoulder to wake him up . As if running after someone, Reb jumped to his feet. Glancing around, he saw no fairy and her Flying Nigo but his fellow village boys and the cargo of water cans. He realized he had been dreaming.
A lesson on conservation
Reb kept pondering on his wonderful dream until they arrived home. He related at once his dream to his Daddy and Mama and to his Lolo and Lola. Reb's parents and grandparents didn't object to what the fairy had said. They accepted their share of the guilt for not doing something to stop the loss of trees and forests in their community. Now Reb completely understands why he and the rest of the children of their village had to fetch water far, far away from their village.
Nigo* is a Waray term for rice winnower. Oblong in shape and weaved from seasoned and matured bamboo and rattan splits, it is an indispensable kitchen tool. Its main use is to winnow rice and other grains to separate the chaff.